Time / Date:
12:22PM / March 27, 2011
Camera: Nikon D2x
Lens: Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8
Lighting: Off-camera flash
Shutter Speed: 1/30s
Focal Length: 17mm
My work is mostly concerned with contemporary culture, social interactions and group behaviors. I am fascinated by observing the body language, glances and micro gestures that hint at hidden motivations of people in social environments. I got interested in documenting bachelorette parties after attending my first one a few years back. I realized that it wasn’t just an excuse for a drunken party but a contemporary rite of passage for the modern woman. In the past there were only bridal showers which celebrated a woman becoming a housewife and ending her singlehood. The bachelorette party, modeled on the bachelor party, came to signify that a woman has as much sexual freedom to lose as her partner and reflected the possible ambivalence of the bride entering a traditional union. With this project (still ongoing), I am exploring the bachelorette party as a curious ritual of ‘sanctioned debauchery’, friendship and status, intimacy and consumerism.
I use the same camera and lens for Bachelorette, the flash is always off- camera. By manipulating the light I can impose a control on the situation and set the mood. I love making images dramatic and colorful, creating deep shadows and fragmented compositions.
Making the Shot:
I was sitting close to the girl holding the Bride cup with a plastic penis straw and tried to photograph her, but she was too close and the limo kept jumping. A bit frustrated I turned my camera just in time to catch her friend pouring the vodka and got a single frame of this moment as the limo jumped again and broke the elements apart.
Editing & Processing:
Minimal editing of color/contrast enhancing. I always do some vignetting to make the image pop out even more from the borders.
This is one of my favorite photos from the project because it has a lot of the main elements that people associate with bachelorette parties – plastic BRIDE cup, sexualized chachkis, alcohol, limo. The brightly painted lips brought it altogether for me, creating a flowing, circular composition encompassing all the fragments of the image.
It’s not hard to learn off-camera flash but it takes some practice to know exactly how the scene should be lit. Since there is no staging involved there are just a couple of chances to get it right in a fluid environment. To learn, it helps to have someone to practice on, light the person different ways by moving the flash and then compare the results and figure out what you like best, what mood does each different set-up bring out. After a while this becomes intuitive and precise.
About the Photographer
Born in 1979 in the Ukraine, Dina Litovsky moved to New York in 1991. After receiving her bachelor degree in Psychology from NYU, Dina Litovsky turned to photography and has earned her MFA graduate degree in Photography from the School of Visual Arts, NY in 2010.
Just recently Dina was chosen for PDN 30, 2014 New and Emerging photographers to watch. She is represented by Polaris Images and Anastasia Photo gallery in NYC.
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